FROM THE DIRECTOR
With early voting possible, every trip I take from my home to the grocery or hardware store I now see a long line of socially distanced voters patiently waiting for their turn – it’s unlike anything in our recent past. Indeed, I joined in and voted early with just a 90-minute wait, just as millions of other Americans have. We are fortunate to live in a country that grants us this privilege. America is only better because of its diverse views and opinions. As you read this, I hope you have already voted as well or have a plan to vote.
More than ever, the country needs a decisive turnout that creates the pathway to the needed systemic policy changes restoring opportunity, rejecting extractive exploitation, and introducing equity to our communities across the country. The recent public engagement may be evidence that America is ready for change that boldly reimagines that opportunity, upward mobility, and economic security should be available for everyone in the post-COVID economy.
I began with the exercise of the vote as a key reminder that our asset building and economic security work goes beyond the investments and innovation fostered by philanthropy. It necessarily includes civic engagement, informing and reforming public and private policy. All of those decision-makers of good faith from either party are needed.
In the coming years, AFN is committed to continue to explore and frame practical solutions addressing long-term questions of how our institutions (and their practices) need to change to become anti-racist. We will advocate how being inclusive includes acting to create waves of equitable opportunity and wealth building in community. And we will continue to use the social determinants to guide and inform systemic reinvention to widen the pipeline for post-secondary education, provide meaningful guaranteed income, infuse new capital to entrepreneurs of color and women, establish baby bonds, and implement the practice and policy reforms at city, state, and federal levels to ensure equity.
AFN will continue to inform philanthropy, policymakers and implementers in community of the need and ways to foster an equitable recovery. We will do so with an expectation that they will embrace and be accountable to implementing reimagined systems and equitable policies that will be effective at scale in the economy with low and moderate income households. We will continue to recognize leading edge efforts.
At the end of the day, this multi-sectoral effort to improve and rebuild the economy will require fundamental reimagining. It is a mighty lift to embrace change at that level. It starts with each of us. Policymakers who are committed to reimagining a broad and equitable recovery should look to what Philanthropy has tested and documented. We need to be clear about what has gone wrong, what systems perpetuate inequity and block opportunity, and what we need to do differently. And to unapologetically hold policy and system stewards accountable.
There is no greater meaningful and symbolic gesture we can do but to use our voice and go vote. Make sure you have a plan on how to cast your vote. But it does not end there. Act to make sure your voice is included in the ongoing effort – one way is to join AFN and add your voice and perspective.